A Better Region 8: Guest Editorial - Colon Cancer

A Better Region 8: Guest Editorial - Colon Cancer

Every 3 minutes someone in America is diagnosed with Colon Cancer. Staggering isn't it? Even more profound is the thought that every 10 minutes someone will die in America due to Colon Cancer. March is Colon Cancer Awareness month. Colorectal cancer is the 3rd most commonly diagnosed cancer and the second most common cause of cancer deaths for men and women in the United States.

The real tragedy in this story is that colon cancer is preventable through proper screening. Currently only about 39% of people diagnosed with colon cancer have their cancers detected at an early stage. This is important because the survival rate of individuals who have early stage colorectal cancer is 90% but that same survival rate is only 10% when diagnosed after it has spread to other organs! If the majority of people in the United States age 50 and older were screened regularly for colorectal cancer the death rate from this disease could plummet by up to 70%. When screening is done appropriately this disease can be mostly avoided all together. Colonoscopy detects polyps and removes these polyps before they have a chance to progress to cancer.

My message to you is this: There are basically 3 rules to beat colon cancer. #1 by age 50 you need to have screening done. Colonoscopy is proven to be the single most effective way screen and beat colon cancer but there are other options available. #2 If you see blood in your stool talk to your doctor immediately 'we have to know that we know' where that blood came from. #3 If someone in your family has had colon cancer or colon polyps you need to be checked 5-10 years prior to the age they were diagnosed.

The American College of Gastroenterology is embracing a campaign to increase awareness and screening with a motto of '80% by 2018'. This goal is to have 80% of people over 50 years of age screening regularly by 2018.

Colon cancer is preventable, treatable and beatable. Don't put off your health and that will make this A Better Region 8

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